Researchers Awarded Early Career Grants

Two University of Arkansas researchers have been awarded $750,000 Early Career Research grants by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Salvador Barraza-Lopez, assistant professor of physics, and John B. Shaw, assistant professor of geosciences, are among 49 scientists nationwide to receive the award.

Barraza-Lopez will use his grant to further research two-dimensional materials that are being investigated as candidates to power the next generation of electronic devices. He recently led an international research team that found black phosphorous and monochalcogenide monolayers act differently than any other known 2-D materials at any given temperature.

Salvador Barraza-Lopez | Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas

Salvador Barraza-Lopez | Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas

“We had worked on graphene for a number of years, and took the deliberate decision to explore new two-dimensional materials that are not as intensively studied,” Barraza-Lopez said. “This grant proves that moving away from the better-traveled path was worth the risk.”

Barraza-Lopez joined the U of A faculty in 2011. He has been a postdoctoral research associate at both Virginia Polytechnic and State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Shaw will use his grant to further his study of sedimentary basins, which have a complicated architecture of sandy channel deposits and muddy floodplain deposits. His project is designed to improve the understanding of how water, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide move through the Earth’s subsurface.

John B. Shaw points to a channel deposit in the Sand Wash Basin in Colorado. | Courtesy Robert Mahon

John B. Shaw points to a channel deposit in the Sand Wash Basin in Colorado. | Courtesy Robert Mahon

“It is quite an honor to receive this funding,” Shaw said. “I look forward to pursuing this research with my colleagues and students at the U of A.”

Shaw joined the U of A faculty in 2014 after serving as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Wyoming.

The Early Career Research Program, now in its seventh year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during their crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

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